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Article

Meetings between victims and offenders suffering from a mental disorder in forensic mental health facilities: a qualitative exploration of their subjective experiences

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue Online First 2022
Keywords Victim-offender meetings, restorative justice, forensic mental health, victimology, perception
Authors Mariëtte van Denderen and Michiel van der Wolf
AbstractAuthor's information

    Most studies about victim-offender meetings have been performed within prison populations, with little reference to offenders diagnosed with mental disorders. In establishing the effects of such meetings, these studies often use quantitative measures. Little is known about meetings between victims and offenders with mental disorders and about the more qualitative subjective experiences of the participants regarding these meetings. In this interview study, we inquired into the subjective experiences of sixteen participants in victim-offender meetings, six of whom are victims and ten offenders of severe crimes, currently residing in forensic mental health facilities. Topics of the interviews included benefits of the meeting and perceptions of each other prior to and after the meeting. Important benefits that participants experienced from meeting each other were reconnecting with family, processing the offence and contributing to each other’s well-being. Such benefits are comparable to those mentioned in studies on meetings with offenders without a mental disorder, challenging the practice that mentally disordered offenders are often excluded from such meetings. Most victims experienced a positive change in perception of the offender owing to the meeting. They perceived the offender as a human being and associated him less exclusively with his offence. Implications for clinical practice are addressed.


Mariëtte van Denderen
M.Y. van Denderen is criminologist and senior researcher at the Forensic Psychiatric Centre Dr. S. van Mesdag, Groningen, the Netherlands.

Michiel van der Wolf
M.J.F. van der Wolf is Professor of Forensic Psychiatry at Leiden University and Associate Professor of Criminal Law at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. Corresponding author: M.Y. van Denderen at m.van.denderen@fpcvanmesdag.nl. Funding: This work was supported by an international, non-governmental, organization that prefers to stay anonymous (more information is available at request). Acknowledgements: We want to thank the victims, bereaved individuals and offenders who shared their experiences about the meeting. We would also like to thank the social workers of the FPC Dr. S. van Mesdag and FPC the Oostvaardersclinic, among which H. van Splunter, and Perspectief Herstelbemiddeling for their cooperation. We thank F. Fierstra, L. Gunnink, E. de Jong and F. Drijfhout for transcribing the interviews. Disclosure statement: No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.
Article

Restorative justice training for judges and public prosecutors in the European Union: what is on offer and where are the gaps?

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue Online First 2022
Keywords restorative justice, judicial training, judges, public prosecutors
Authors Ana Catarina Pereira, Britt De Craen and Ivo Aertsen
AbstractAuthor's information

    Judges and public prosecutors across Europe continue to be the main source of referral of cases to restorative justice programmes organised in the context of the criminal justice system. As a result, the training of these two groups of legal professionals regarding what restorative justice is and what it can offer to victims, offenders and the community has for many years been identified as a priority for the development of restorative justice in the European Union (EU). However, little information is available about what actually exists in terms of judicial training on restorative justice within the national judicial training institutions responsible for the initial and/or continuous training of judges and/or public prosecutors. Therefore, we developed an online survey on judicial training on restorative justice and invited 38 judicial training institutions operating in the (then) 28 EU Member States to participate in our study. We were able to make relevant observations regarding the reasons for the non-existence of restorative justice training in most of the judicial training institutions studied and identify important elements of the architecture of the restorative justice training offered by the judicial training institution of Czech Republic.


Ana Catarina Pereira
Ana Pereira is a PhD researcher in Criminology at the Leuven Institute of Criminology at KU Leuven, Belgium. She received a PhD grant from the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, FCT).

Britt De Craen
Britt De Craen is a master’s student in Criminology at the Leuven Institute of Criminology at KU Leuven, Belgium.

Ivo Aertsen
Ivo Aertsen is Professor Emeritus of the Leuven Institute of Criminology at KU Leuven, Belgium. Corresponding author: Ana Pereira, anacatarina.alvespereira@kuleuven.be.
Conversations on restorative justice

A talk with Howard Zehr

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 1 2022
Authors Brunilda Pali
Author's information

Brunilda Pali
Brunilda Pali is Senior Researcher, Social and Cultural Anthropology, Faculty of Social Sciences, KU Leuven, Belgium. Corresponding author: Brunilda Pali at brunilda.pali@kuleuven.be.

    Restorative justice has frequently been presented as a new criminal justice paradigm, and as something that is radically different from punishment. I will argue that this ‘oppositioning’ is problematic for two reasons: first, because some cases of restorative justice constitute de facto punishment from the perspectives of some positions on what punishment is; second, because restorative justice could reasonably be more widely adopted as a new form of de jure punishment, which could potentially increase the use of restorative justice for the benefit of victims, offenders and society at large. In connection with the latter, I want to present some preliminary thoughts on how restorative justice could be incorporated into future criminal justice systems as de jure punishment. Furthermore, I will suggest that by insisting that restorative justice is radically different from punishment, restorative justice advocates may - contrary to their intentions − play into the hands of those who want to preserve the status quo rather than developing future criminal justice systems in the direction of restorative justice.


Christian Gade
Christian Gade is an Associate Professor of Human Security and Anthropology at Aarhus University and a mediator in the Danish victim-offender mediation programme (Konfliktråd). Corresponding author: Christian Gade at gade@cas.au.dk. Acknowledgements: I would like to thank Pernille Reese, head of the Danish Victim-Offender Mediation Secretariat, for our many dialogues about restorative justice and punishment. Furthermore, I am grateful to Søren Rask Bjerre Christensen and Isabelle Sauer for their thoughtful comments on earlier drafts of this article. Last but not least, I would like to thank the three anonymous reviewers for their valuable feedback.
Article

Access_open Retribution, restoration and the public dimension of serious wrongs

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 1 2022
Keywords public wrongs, R.A. Duff, agent-relative values, criminalisation, punishment
Authors Theo van Willigenburg
AbstractAuthor's information

    Restorative justice has been criticised for not adequately giving serious consideration to the ‘public’ character of crimes. By bringing the ownership of the conflict involved in crime back to the victim and thus ‘privatising’ the conflict, restorative justice would overlook the need for crimes to be treated as public matters that concern all citizens, because crimes violate public values, i.e., values that are the foundation of a political community. Against this I argue that serious wrongs, like murder or rape, are violations of agent-neutral values that are fundamental to our humanity. By criminalising such serious wrongs we show that we take such violations seriously and that we stand in solidarity with victims, not in their capacity as compatriots but as fellow human beings. Such solidarity is better expressed by organising restorative procedures that serve the victim’s interest than by insisting on the kind of public condemnation and penal hardship that retributivists deem necessary ‘because the public has been wronged’. The public nature of crimes depends not on the alleged public character of the violated values but on the fact that crimes are serious wrongs that provoke a (necessarily reticent) response from government officials such as police, judges and official mediators.


Theo van Willigenburg
Theo van Willigenburg is Research Fellow at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Faculteit Religie en Theologie, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Corresponding author: Theo van Willigenburg at t.van.willigenburg@vu.nl.

    Evaluations of restorative justice frequently report that only a minority of schools succeed in adopting a whole-school approach. More common are a consortium of practices necessitating the evaluation of schools not implementing the whole-school model but still achieving positive results. Previous research established that unconventional models have successful outcomes, yet little is known about the contextual factors and the causal mechanisms of different practices. This study finds that models of restorative justice facilitating student voice and consequently procedural justice have promising outcomes. Importantly, alternative models may be less resource-intensive, making them more feasible to fully implement.


Heather Norris
Heather Norris is a Lecturer in the Department of Psychology at Aberystwyth University, Wales, UK. Corresponding author: Heather Norris at hnn1@aber.ac.uk.

Layla Alsheikh
Layla Alsheikh is a Palestinian active member of the Parents Circle-Families Forum. Detailed information and updates about the projects, events and activities mentioned in this contribution can be found at the Forum’s official website: www.theparentscircle.org. Corresponding author: Layla Alsheikh at lailaalshek@gmail.com.

Gerry Johnstone
Gerry Johnstone is a Professor of Law at the University of Hull, UK. Corresponding author: Gerry Johnstone at J.G.Johnstone@hull.ac.uk.

John Braithwaite
John Braithwaite is a Professor at the University of Maryland, USA and Emeritus Australian National University, Australia. Corresponding author: John.Braithwaite@anu.edu.au. Acknowledgements: Thanks to Eliza Kaczynska-Nay, Valerie Braithwaite, Estelle Zinsstag, Lode Walgrave, Albert Dzur, Ivo Aertsen, Fernanda Fonseca Rosenblatt, Gerry Johnstone, Claudia Mazzucato and Jane Bolitho for splendid suggestions on drafts.

    Western Australia is experiencing high rates of recidivism among Aboriginal offenders. This challenge can be partly addressed by delivering culturally relevant programming. Its dearth, however, suggests two questions: what is culturally fit in the context of the prison, and how might such programming be constructed? This article responds to these questions by focusing on one element of culture, ‘values’, that is influential ideas that determine desirable courses of action in a culture. Firstly, a review of the literature and comparative analysis is given to the respective key values of Aboriginal culture and European and Anglo-Australian cultures. It also highlights the importance of repairing Aboriginal values with implications for providing culturally relevant prison programming. Secondly, a report is given on how an in-prison Aboriginal restorative justice programme (AIPRJP) was co-designed by Noongar Elders and prisoners and me, an Anglo-Australian restorativist. Using an ethnographic approach, the project identified a set of Aboriginal values for addressing the harms resulting from historical manifestations of wrongdoing by settler colonialism and contemporary crimes of Aboriginal offenders. Brief commentary is then given to the delivery of the AIPRJP, followed by a summary of findings and recommendations for using culturally relevant programming.


Jane Anderson
Jane Anderson is Adjunct Research Fellow at School of Population and Global Health, The University of Western Australia, Australia. Corresponding author: Jane Anderson at jane.a@westnet.com.au. Acknowledgements: I extend my appreciation to the Noongar Elders and prisoners of the South West of Western Australia who co-designed the AIPRJP. My thanks go to the prison superintendent and staff for supporting the initiative. I am grateful to the peer reviewers for their constructive criticism which has led to substantial improvements to this article.
Article

Diversion and restorative justice in the context of juvenile justice reforms in Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue Online First 2022
Keywords children’s rights, juvenile justice, restorative justice, diversion, implementation challenges, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines
Authors Le Thu Dao, Le Huynh Tan Duy, Ukrit Sornprohm e.a.
AbstractAuthor's information

    Diversion is an important vehicle for delivering an alternative model of youth justice, one that is, hopefully, grounded in principles of children’s rights and restorative justice. Several Asia-Pacific countries, often with international assistance, have sought to develop alternative processes and programmes to which children in conflict with the law can be diverted to. In some instances, these have included restorative justice programmes. This article provides an overview of the implementation of a restorative justice approach, as a youth justice diversion measure, in four South-East Asian countries: Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam. It describes juvenile justice reforms in these countries, particularly as they relate to the implementation of diversion and restorative justice and reflects on the factors that may have affected the success of these reforms. Every one of these countries has achieved a measure of success in implementing diversion and restorative justice, although restorative justice has occupied a different place in these reforms. The article offers a general overview of key challenges and notable successes encountered during that process, as well as an opportunity to consider the role of tradition, culture and public expectations in the implementation of restorative justice principles in the context of juvenile justice.


Le Thu Dao
Le Thu Dao, PhD, is professor at the Comparative Law Institute, Hanoi Law University, Hanoi, Vietnam.

Le Huynh Tan Duy
Le Huynh Tan Duy, LLB, LLM, PhD, is Head of Criminal Procedure Law Division of the Ho Chi Minh City University of Law, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Ukrit Sornprohm
Ukrit Sornprohm, LLB, LLM, LLD (Candidate), Project Manager (Rule of Law and Criminal Justice), Thailand Institute of Justice, Bangkok, Thailand.

Yvon Dandurand
Yvon Dandurand, Professor Emeritus, Criminology, University of the Fraser Valley, Abbotsford, Canada. Fellow, International Centre for Criminal Law Reform. Corresponding author: Yvon Dandurand, Yvon.Dandurand@ufv.ca.
Article

Towards a restorative justice approach to white-collar crime and supra-individual victimisation

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue Online First 2022
Keywords restorative justice, white-collar crimes, supra-individual victimisation, spokespersons at restorative meetings, eligibility criteria
Authors Daniela Gaddi and María José Rodríguez Puerta
AbstractAuthor's information

    This work examines the feasibility of extending the implementation of restorative justice to the field of white-collar crime for a specific class of victimisation: that which people experience as a group (i.e. supra-individual victimisation). For this purpose, we analyse some key issues and outline a number of criteria for determining who would be able to speak on behalf of supra-individual victims of white-collar crime in restorative meetings. Some initial proposals are offered, based on four types of supra-individual victimisation, which would provide a framework for the selection of spokespersons who could attend restorative meetings in restoratively oriented criminal proceedings.


Daniela Gaddi
Daniela Gaddi is an Adjunct Professor of Criminology and Criminal Law at the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona (UAB), Spain and a community mediator.

María José Rodríguez Puerta
María José Rodríguez Puerta is Professor of Criminal Law at the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona (UAB), Spain. Corresponding author: Daniela Gaddi, daniela.gaddi@uab.cat.
Article

Restorative justice practice in forensic mental health settings: bridging the gap

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue Online First 2021
Keywords restorative justice in mental health, evidence-based practice, institutional settings, victims, ethics
Authors Gerard Drennan and Fin Swanepoel
AbstractAuthor's information

    The ‘clinic’ has developed sophisticated systems for responding to the challenge of serious mental health conditions. Mental health services combine hierarchical decision-making processes, with clear medical authority, with interventions that are required to be evidence-based to the highest standard. This is a system in which ethical, defensible practice is imperative to protect the public and to protect practitioners from legal liability in the event of adverse outcomes. Restorative justice interventions are powerful ‘medicine’. At their best, they change lives. However, the evidence base for formal restorative justice interventions when ‘administered’ to people with severe mental health difficulties is almost non-existent. It is into this relative vacuum of empirical support that initial steps are being taken to formalise access to restorative justice for mental health populations. This article will consider the challenges for applications of restorative justice in mental health settings and how the gap between the principle of equality of access and actual practice could be conceptualised and bridged. Recommendations include a rigorous commitment to meeting the needs of victims; a focus on the mental health patient’s capacity to consent rather than the capacity to benefit; practice-based evidence development and the inclusion of restorative justice awareness in all mental health practitioner training.


Gerard Drennan
Gerard Drennan is Head of Psychology & Psychotherapy at South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, London, United Kingdom.

Fin Swanepoel
Fin Swanepoel is a Restorative Justice Practitioner at South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, London, United Kingdom. Corresponding author: Gerard Drennan at Gerard.Drennan@slam.nhs.uk. Acknowledgements: We wish to thank the reviewers of the first submission of this article for their helpful comments and suggestions as the article was significantly improved by their guidance. We also wish to thank our colleagues in forensic mental health services who are also working to introduce restorative justice practices in their settings. We have learnt so much from their vision and commitment. We have been sustained in our journey because we journey with them.

Ezzat Fattah
Ezzat A. Fattah is Professor Emeritus at Simon Fraser University, Canada. Contact author: efattah@telus.net.

Meredith Rossner
Meredith Rossner is Professor of Criminology, Centre for Social Research and Methods, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.

Miranda Forsyth
Miranda Forsyth is Associate Professor in the School of Regulation and Global Governance, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia. Contact author: Meredith.rossner@anu.edu.au

Albert Dzur
Albert Dzur is Distinguished Research Professor, Departments of Political Science and Philosophy, Bowling Green State University, USA. Contact author: awdzur@bgsu.edu.

Fernanda Fonseca Rosenblatt
Fernanda Fonseca Rosenblatt is Professor of Law at the Catholic University of Pernambuco (UNICAP), Brazil and Assistant Professor at the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP), USA, and Book Review Editor of this journal.

Kennedy Anderson Domingos de Farias
Kennedy Anderson Domingos de Farias is an undergraduate law student at UNICAP, Brazil. Contact author: fernanda.rosenblatt@unicap.br.

Albert Dzur
Albert Dzur is Distinguished Research Professor, Departments of Political Science and Philosophy, Bowling Green State University, USA. Contact author: awdzur@bgsu.edu.
Article

Exploring the growth and development of restorative justice in Bangladesh

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 2 2021
Keywords restorative justice, Bangladesh, salish, village courts, INGOs
Authors Muhammad Asadullah and Brenda Morrison
AbstractAuthor's information

    Although restorative justice is a new concept in Bangladesh (BD), resolving wrongdoing outside the criminal justice system is not a new practice. Community-based mediation, known as salish, has been practised for centuries – withstanding colonisation, adaptation and distortion. Other practices, such as village courts and customary justice, are also prevalent in Bangladesh. Of these, village courts are currently the most widely practised in Bangladesh. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ Bangladesh) formally introduced restorative justice in 2013 with the support of international non-governmental organisations (INGOs), NGOs, academics and government agencies. Most of the literature on community-based justice practice focuses on village courts; academic, peer-reviewed research on restorative justice in Bangladesh is scarce. This qualitative study explores the growth and development of restorative justice in Bangladesh. Using in-depth qualitative interviews and survey, the study retraces the genesis of restorative justice in Bangladesh. In recent times, GIZ Bangladesh has been key to the development of restorative justice, which was further expanded by UNDP’s Activating Village Courts project, as well as a graduate course on restorative justice at the University of Dhaka. This study also finds contentious themes raised by the key informants, specifically the role of INGOs, government and community.


Muhammad Asadullah
Muhammad Asadullah is Assistant Professor at the Department of Justice Studies, University of Regina, Canada.

Brenda Morrison
Brenda Morrison is Associate Professor at the School of Criminology, Simon Fraser University, Canada. Contact author: Muhammad.Asadullah@uregina.ca.
Article

Access_open Using restorative justice to rethink the temporality of transition in Chile

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 2 2021
Keywords temporality, transitional justice, restorative justice, Chile, ongoingness, multilayeredness & multidirectionality
Authors Marit de Haan and Tine Destrooper
AbstractAuthor's information

    Assumptions of linear progress and a clean break with the past have long characterised transitional justice interventions. This notion of temporality has increasingly been problematised in transitional justice scholarship and practice. Scholars have argued that a more complex understanding of temporalities is needed that better accommodates the temporal messiness and complexity of transitions, including their ongoingness, multilayeredness and multidirectionality. Existing critiques, however, have not yet resulted in a new conceptual framework for thinking about transitional temporalities. This article builds on insights from the field of restorative justice to develop such a framework. This framework foregrounds longer timelines, multilayered temporalities and temporal ecologies to better reflect reality on the ground and victims’ lived experiences. We argue that restorative justice is a useful starting point to develop such a temporal framework because of its actor-oriented, flexible and interactive nature and proximity to the field of transitional justice. Throughout this article we use the case of Chile to illustrate some of the complex temporal dynamics of transition and to illustrate what a more context-sensitive temporal lens could mean for such cases of unfinished transition.


Marit de Haan
Marit de Haan is a PhD researcher at the Human Rights Centre of Ghent University, Belgium.

Tine Destrooper
Tine Destrooper is Associate Professor of Transitional Justice at the Human Rights Centre of Ghent University, Belgium. Contact author: marit.dehaan@ugent.be.
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